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Open mike 21/01/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 21st, 2011 - 36 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

36 comments on “Open mike 21/01/2011 ”

  1. obarma to Hu “We want to sell you this and that” ($41 billion worth)

    Hu to obarma ” How you going to afford to keep an industrial economy functioning? Where will you get the money?”

    obarma to Hu “Why you Hu”

    What a joke we are.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Robert Atack – Presidents Obama and Hu may have cause to pause. China’s rise is built on cheap energy. Chinas economic power is built on the idea that it is cheaper to extract iron ore in Brazil, coal in Australia and oil in Nigeria, ship these raw materials to China, refine them, then re-export the steel to the United States than it is to simply make the steel in Virginia and send it out by train from there across the United States.

    Within thirty years this will no longer be so. In thirty years, the United States will begin to re-industrialise as globalisation retreats in front of high energy prices.

    Where then China?

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      I believe China and the US both produce about the same amount of oil, some 5-6M barrels/day. The difference is that the US consumes about 19M in total, while China consumes about 9M. China also has much more control over it’s population in a power-down situation and is rapidly developing green technology while the US in particular drags behind.

      The US may not get a chance to re-industrialise as it may always end up being that the goods are cheaper/better quality to import from China than they are to make in the US.

  3. I am interested in others view of this idea.

    Left Maori Party

    kaupapa – belief in tino rangatiratanga, support for the disadvantaged, kaitiakitanga and equality.

    The party vote determines the number of MP’s – so a high party vote from those that support the kaupapa and want a representative voice in parliment, would result in seats.

    It is false to believe that maori could not represent this constituency – every party has a variety of individuals with different belief systems – this would be no different.

    The balance of power could be held.

    Inclusive of others, supporters could be anyone interested in the kaupapa, including our pasifika cousins and others who are not maori. Matt and Sue may like to be involved.

    This could be set up and ready to contest the next election. The many who do not feel represented could have a voice and although it would shed votes from labour – any left party would do that, so it is just part of the game and could strengthen them.

    • Bill 3.1

      Why not a left party that espouses those things that is niether overtly Maori nor (importantly) overtly Pakeha? A left party, in other words, that embraces the true breadth of the left

      As for Labour shedding votes. They probably will. But there are plenty of leftists who will not vote for Labour anyway.

    • Bill 3.2

      Any adherance a concept of tino rangatiratanga would necessarily have to be accompanied by a commitment to a wider concept of self determination that takes into account of the rights of all. The worthy but nevertheless limited concept of Maori self determination, if pursued in isolation, will simply ensure that seeds of division find fertile ground.

      • marty mars 3.2.1

        Exactly Bill – but just because a group has a top priority doesn’t mean that they have no other priorities. If a new left party could incorporate maori aspirations why couldn’t a Left Maori Party also represent other groups – maori are represented in all of them.

        • Bill 3.2.1.1

          If a new left party could incorporate maori aspirations why couldn’t a Left Maori Party also represent other groups..

          It could. But you and I both know that racism is fairly deeply entrenched in NZ. And you and I both know that the presence of such a party would be exploited to fuel racist sentiments already present in NZ.

          But even putting that aside, I can’t see the point in the left conciously and deliberately ‘walling itself in’ in terms of how it defines itself rather than being dynamicaly expansive. That’s why I said in my previous comment that any party of the left must be neither overtly Maori nor overtly Pakeha.

  4. Sanctuary 4

    Marty, such a party would quickly collapse under the weight of the inherent contradiction of trying to have an class based political party driven by the identity politics of being Maori. Until Harawira works out if he wants to a socialist first and Maori second, or vice-versa, he’ll just lurch erratically around the political spectrum and offer foundations of sand for any left party that seeks to rely on him for seats.

    • I’m not sure if I agree that it is an inherent contradiction – they seem like complementary agendas to me.

    • Bill 4.2

      Repeating myself, but any left party worth its salt has to embrace the left perspectives of race, gender and economics. Otherwise it’s a pastiche.

      Further, these facets of leftism should be treated in a complimentary fashion, ie each informing and reinforcing the others rather than one perspective being elevating above the others to arrive at a default ( and impoverished) position.

      How often has it been the case that the economic argument (elevated and centred) has dismissed questions of race or gender (or paid no more than lip service to them) on the premise that when the economics are sorted the other two will somehow magically fall into place? Or that if race and gender issues don’t somehow magically resolve themselves that there will then be time to deal with them?

      It’s a dynamic of the left that is complete and utter bollocks and that ensures the left remains not just fragmented, but insubstantial, hypocritical and hobbled.

      • marty mars 4.2.1

        yes bill I agree again – why couldn’t a Left Maori Party be a place for all those who are against unfairness and inequality.

        The spear has to have a point and each oppression has an argument to be that point but which will make the breakthrough and allow the rest to follow.

        • Bill 4.2.1.1

          …but which will make the breakthrough and allow the rest to follow

          But that’s just a variation of ‘economy first and everything alse will fall into place’ argument. It’s bollocks. If (say) only economic oppression is tackled, it will reassert itself in some form or other due to the influence of the oppressions present in gender and race relations.

          As we are now, surely we have to be serious and ask ourselves what the the point in having a class based left in the ascendancy if that left is racist and sexist? Or a race based left in the ascendency that is still sexist and capitalist?

          The answer (for me at any rate) is that there is not much point in that at all.

  5. M 5

    ‘How the Other Half Live’ on TV One last night showed starkly the differences between the haves and the have-nots.

    A woman, Sharon Gumpo, who had fled Zimbabwe with her husband was on her own with three daughters, Yolanda, Molisha? and Joyvie in a council flat in an area so rough they had spikes on the tree trunks to prevent the trees from being climbed. Her £240 per week benefit plus some accumulated debt meant she had to squeak by on next to nothing. Her children didn’t have chests of drawers for their meagre amounts of clothing but suitcases inside their wardrobes. One of the children’s beds was broken so the child had to sleep on a mattress on the floor. When the affected child was blowing out the candles on her birthday cake she wished for a new bed and the poor mother dissolved into tears because she had no way of providing such a basic need and the youngest girl tried to comfort her mother. Meals were taken on the floor on top of a blanket. Violence was witnessed by these children from their windows on a daily basis and the sight of the police cars and ambulances was a common occurrence.

    The well-to-do family, the Brotherstons, lived in what can only be described as glorious splendor in a six-bedroom mansion with two cleaners to help a stay at home mother of two, Christine. The five-acre property had beautifully manicured garden courtesy of gardeners (I think I spotted three) and a tennis court as well as a nice brick work drive way. The ease of their lives was acknowledged by Christine who said that they has pretty much stress free lives as they were able to holiday regularly and enjoy the good life.

    The father, Ken who pulled in a six-figure salary as a MD of a high-profile recruitment company and he wasn’t the least bit embarrassed by this as he regarded himself and his wife as good, upstanding citizens who tried to give something back. Like John Key he had humble beginnings in a council estate in Scotland. The children Charlie and Grace did acknowledge they were very fortunate but I don’t think they realised just how lucky they were. Christine said her children had been exposed to poverty through studying places at school such as Kenya and thought it would be good for her children to be exposed to poverty first-hand in their own country.

    Ken acknowledged that his biggest fear was that his attitude would be ‘that if you wanted to get yourself out of that situation you could’ and be judgmental. After viewing the Gumpos and their home on DVD, the son, Charlie described them as a normal family living in abnormal circumstances. Ken then said that he could see they were trying to make the best of their situation and found it inspiring and then said he wondered what they could do to help them.
    The Brotherstons then sent Sharon a gift of £2,000 completed floored her and she was able to buy her girls some summer uniform dresses for school, an outfit each, paid her telephone and electricity accounts before they were disconnected and bought a new bed for her daughter. A further gift of £3,500 allowed Christine to clear her debts and to enrol in a community college to further her skills in dressmaking. Sharon and her girls’ happiness knew no bounds when her children’s bedrooms were made over and she received a sewing machine which would enable her to make a living and as well as a modest dining room set.

    The meetings between the families were friendly if slightly awkward and when the Gumpos went to the Brotherston’s home the eldest girls expression said it all as she stood on the cobbled drive with a look that said ‘how is it that they have all this’ – not in a jealous way but in a way that showed utter amazement. The Gumpos then had the Brotherstons to lunch, and so that they could keep in touch the Brotherstons presented the Gumpos with a laptop and were going to arrange an Internet connection as well as assisting with childcare costs in the future.

    The Brotherstons for all their wealth saw a need and did something practical about it – maybe £8,000 pounds? to make a real difference in four people’s lives and even though they may not have realised that a fairer distribution of income could have much the same effect in the long run.

    • Bill 5.1

      And then Work and Income determined the money was income and ‘adjusted’ her benefit accordingly.

      Alternatively, she didn’t tell Work and Income of the money at the time and they did her for fraud after the programme aired.

      • prism 5.1.1

        Bill – That sounds like Work and Income. They are people shapers, they’ll push you to fit into the round hole even if you’re square. They tend not to give you the help you need to get out of bottom feeding. As soon as you can advance yourself in some way, they slap you down, take the extra you have gained plus reduce your ordinary income. In dealing with the WINZ staff, some of them are mean s..ts, some find fault and diss you, some despise you, and some are OK if you’re lucky.

        A relation of mine is dying with cancer slowly, taking pills to keep it in remission. He can’t work many hours but had started volunteer work, meals on wheels etc, but he isn’t allowed to keep doing that and they have sent him to polytech to do a course in something. Idiotic, closed minds the government have when thinking about social welfare.

  6. joe90 6

    the United States will begin to re-industrialise as globalisation retreats in front of high energy prices.

    Looks like the new broom has already begun to clear the way for energy companies to neuter the Obama administration’s climate change agenda behind closed doors, started to sweep away the clean air act and de-fund CIA climate monitoring and analysis which has been providing declassified satellite data to climate scientists.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    The Real Economic Lesson China Could Teach Us

    Here’s the real story. China has a national economic strategy designed to make it, and its people, the economic powerhouse of the future. They’re intent on learning as much as they can from us and then going beyond us (as they already are in solar and electric-battery technologies). They’re pouring money into basic research and education at all levels. In the last 12 years they’ve built twenty universities, each designed to be the equivalent of MIT.

    Their goal is to make China Number one in power and prestige, and in high-wage jobs.

    The United States doesn’t have a national economic strategy. Instead, we have global corporations that happen to be headquartered here. Their goal is to maximize profits, wherever they can make the most money. They’ll make things in America for export to China when that’s most profitable; they’ll make it in China and give the Chinese their know-how when that’s the best way to boost the bottom line. They’ll utilize research and development wherever around the world it will deliver the biggest bang for the dollar.

    China boosts education and R&D to become the economic powerhouse of the world and the US exports it’s know-how to the Chinese to help them make it so. The same is happening here as in the US due to the “free-market”.

    It’s time that we woke up to the fact that if we want a better life here then we’re going to have to plan for it rather than leaving it up to the gaming tables of speculation.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Maybe we can export our farming and dairying know-how to China for the cost of a few seminars and expert visits? Oh wait…that’s what we’re doing.

      China has a comprehensive programme. It knows that it needs green power. And it knows that it needs to feed its people. And it doesn’t want to rely on the west for any of that in the future.

  8. lprent 8

    It is kind of boring moderating today. Everyone is sticking pretty much to the point and writing some pretty good comment.

    This is a bit of a issue because I was up very late last night playing with code to read ePub’s and I’ve been kind of grumpy this morning and there is no-one to vent on with my Ogre personality in play. *sigh*

    But I see that Z has just put up a post…. Maybe that will help 😈

    • prism 8.1

      Lot of body building exercise here, also nice white teeth but the red eye spoils the look. Which is what – Goth decayed or emergent mutant?

      captcha – knocks!

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Govt motorway builders ignoring high petrol prices, will cost Kiwis

    “We have asked the New Zealand Transport Agency what oil price assumptions are used in their latest models for the Roads of National Significance, and we have been told that oil prices are not even taken into account,” said Green Party Transport spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

    So, our transport agency doesn’t even take into account the cost of fuel when doing b/c analysis?

    /facepalm

  10. Fisiani 10

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2011/4623/

    anyone want to guess which party is on 29% and which on a record 55%

    • ianmac 10.1

      Do you take full credit for the Morgan result Fisiani? You certainly sound smug!
      Still those on the Left like a challenge so stay smug Fisiani.

      • just saying 10.1.1

        Still those on the Left like a challenge..

        Yeah, but it would be nice to have a choice between challenge and cruise now and then.

    • gingercrush 10.2

      I don’t like spikes that are irregular as this poll is. Also whenever there is such a huge shift things tend to go the other way the following month. I also find Roy Morgan tends to at times have a bias towards NZ First that isn’t there. Same with the Horizon poll.

      Roy Morgan is a fluctuating poll. Its the only one that is Monthly (unless Horizon decides to go monthly). Therefore, it will tend to swing in favour of certain parties then different parties the following month.

    • Colonial Viper 10.3

      Dang it, the left is screwed.

      But then again, it’ll be different by next month 😀

    • Draco T Bastard 10.4

      Well, I suppose the only people breathlessly waiting for a poll company to call them over the Xmas/NY period were NACT supporters. Everyone else was out enjoying the sunshine.

      That really is one hell of a spike. I suspect it’s gone far beyond the margin of error.

  11. Herodotus 11

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10700288
    Bit late on this, but did we not protect such organisations when the crap was falling out of the market 2 years ago?
    $15.4 BILLION in bonus !!!!!!
    I hope that the profits did not arise from US treasury giving interest free loans to grease the system, then to be lent out a@ 4%, easy money for some?

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      And that’s US$15.4B in bonuses.

      The US economy is not a financialised caricature of once great strength. Even as individual states are riding the bankruptcy wave, the corporate aristocracy are living up large.

  12. prism 12

    On RadNZ at 7pmish today Friday night Nigel Roberts now retired political scientist is talking about his thinkpiece on how NZ would have fared with Winston Peters in, in past elections. Plus other things.

  13. Armchair Critic 14

    Without wanting to stray into “telling you what to write” territory, LP, may we please have another usual suspects post.

  14. seeker 15

    @M(9.14am.) and @ Bill (9.35 am) – income support, as Work and Income is called in Britain, did not “do” Mrs. Gumpo asbecause the Brotherstons gave her just enough money so as “not to affect her benefit.” The rest they gave her in gifts. They told us this in the programme, hence the quotation marks.

    I have no idea what happened after the programme, but Mrs Gumbo was really beginning to get her life back on track, and I have litle doubt she would have managed this successfully. The Brotherstons support totally facilitated her revival, as well as the sensitive way all the adults handled things. The children were equally loving and supportive of each other.

    The entire programme revived me as well as Sharon Gumbo. It is a pity that many Mammonites(as I am now calling Neo Liberals/NActs) will not have seen it . By the way M. , a really good write up of a totally worthwhile watch, glad you posted this – thankyou. A definite big entry for the hope scrap book!

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